The American Association for Homcare, National Asscoiation of Impendent Medical Equipment Suppliers, the Van G. Miller Group and MED Group has launched a campaign to help HME providers and patients impress upon their Congress members the value of homecare and the critical role of durable medical equipment.
The campaign involves three elements:
1. Pre-addressed postcards will be provided to DME providers, with the request that they give them to 10 patients, who will fill out in their own handwriting why homecare and DME provide a critical role in their lives. The goal is to hav 25,000 postcards reach members of Congress at their home district office during the week of Feb. 11 to Feb. 15.
2. The second phase is to have providers, accompanied by a patient visit the home district offices of every member of Congress. The campaign asks providers to make an appointment with their congress members’ home district office during the week of Feb. 18 to Feb. 25, when Congress is in recess.
3. The third element of the plan is to push for increased attendance of the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference, which is slated for March 4 to March 6 in Washington, D.C. AAHomecare has asked all state associations to meet the North Carolina and Virginia state associations’ challenge to bring at least one person from each district to the event.
“Time is short and the stakes are high,” said AAHomecare president Tyler Wilson in a prepared statement. “When NAIMES approached us with this plan, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring more homecare advocates and patients into the picture and get the industry firing on all cylinders quickly.”
“We had been working on this plan for some time now,” said Wayne Stanfield, NAIMES president. “But when we realized that the stars would align with a congressional recess two weeks before the Washington Legislative Conference, we decided that a move had to be made.” NAIMES had discussed a slightly different plan with VGM last year, but put it on hold until the spring.
The postcard campaign gives providers a good opportunity to education patients about changes to Medicare reimbursement and how those changes will directly impact their lives, especially considering that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not done a sufficient job, says Michael Reinemer, Vice President, Communications and Policy for AAHomecare.
“Educating the patients about [funding changes] is a challenge because, it’s not easy to immediately see the impact,” he says. “CMS has not done a very good job of explaining this to patients. I saw a recent communication from CMS and it was very vague and had zero detail.”
The postcard campaign, however is where providers can make a difference with patients and with Congress, Reinemer explains: “The one thing that is very unique about this program is that pulls in a variety of groups to all pull in the same direction.”